Sunday, January 7, 2024

Being in Relationship is Being

  ren ren

The source, corner stone of all  Confucius teachings began here with the chinese character representing "humanness". What it is to be human and with compassion. This character is a "person" in the first two downward strokes and the second two short horizontal strokes are the number “2". He wanted his war torn country to have a new way of life beginning with the family relationships. 


This is definitely, to me,  about being in relationship is the definition , the meaning of our lives.

            My painting study of           Sistin Chapel

My recent studies of the Old Testament ( written around 500 BC) and Hebrew language alphabet, have resulted in my experiencing the message of Yahweh as " I am in relationship with you". Many of the stories are to show what happens to our relationships without God's guidance or acknowledgement. My religious studies  at university ( 1969-73 ) included the Dead Sea scrolls . The early translations revealed a different wording of the 10 commandments. Instead of the "Thou shall not" ....wording it was " you are not with God when you...    "  What a transformation of understanding about what it means to follow and keep these commandments. 

Grave Stone in famous Barre VT Cemetery. Well known for Italian sculptors working in the granite quarries. Sculpture is twice the size of our human stature. 

Next the New Testament expands, beyond the Old Testament covenant and animal sacrifice for atonement, to a single commandment of "  that relationship is to love one another as I love you." All peoples, tribes, gentiles and cultures. We are asked to "repent.." by John the Baptist. Translated hebrew meaning is to " turn towards" ( acknowledge this love). The only sin is to " turn away" from and deny the relationship with ones creator. And that sin was even forgiven , " forever more" on the cross.  The idea of being born with "original sin"  no longer is, all is forgiven! ....This relationship cannot be broken. Ignored or denied , (even though free will gives us this illusion) we are never out of relationship with our Creator. From the garden of Eden ( when Eve chose the wisdom, knowledge of this world ) expulsion to the crucification the message is the same.
 We, all creatures, flora , nature are connected to each other.
 Even the recent studies of trees show their relationship under the ground with the entertwining of their roots, that insure harmonius survival for all.

Another teacher Lau Tsu , an elder contemporary of Confucius, spoke more of this relationship with nature.
... In the way of the Tao, it is the creative and "binding"  force that runs through the universe.

A relationship again evident by our need for trees to keep our lungs full of oxygen and the trees needed carbon monoxide.

Yet another teacher, a possible contemporary of both these Chinese spiritual leaders, 500-600 BC,  Buddha from India has an emphasis on connection that begins with the relationship we have with ourselves through our breath. This practice leads to our own and others suffering less, including an awareness of the preciousness of all life, through the understanding of impermanence and change. 


2502 years after Confucianism, my teacher from San Francisco Zen Center (1987-1992) has written a book, " When You Greet Me I Bow" by Zoketsu Norman Fischer. Even the title mirrors the essence of his understanding after many decades of practice, studies and teaching. this following quote is from the first page....................
            ........ "So it is quite surprising that the opening
                     section of this book, its bedrock, is about
                     relationship. Because this is what I discovered
                     after many decades of Zen Buddhist practice:
                     that the religious life isn't about truth as much 
                     as it is about relationship. Or, that, perhaps truth
                     and relationship are one and the same...............
                      Relationship is not something that happens
                      (or doesn't happen) in a life, it is life's truest truth.

My conclusion about our meeting and practicing together for only a few years compared to his life in an ongoing community, my path is continuously linked
to his. It is no longer surprising to me we are in tune with one another as we look back on our lives in our 7th decade. 70+ revolutions around the sun. 

      I have my own story from my  first meeting with a teacher ,Katagiri Roshi, a dear friend of the founder of San Francisco Zen Center, 
Suzuki Roshi. I was a new student of Zen pactice and not experienced in private meetings with revered teachers, one on one. I waited in a cold zendo for the many older practioners to complete their meetings. My barefeet, very cold while sitting zazen for the hours of waiting.
      As I climbed the stairs, I went over my instructions door..... bow to altar ....side step...face roshi bow and sit.
        I opened door, closed door,it was a very small room , perhaps 8x8 feet and one small window over roshis left shoulder. As I began  the altar bow, I saw a beam of light come thru the window and warmed my feet. I nearly jumped for joy.
      "thank you, thank you, thank you, that feels so good . "
I completed my bow, side stepped and bowed before roshi and sat down.
       With some nervousness I began to tell my story, " I am new to Zen practice" and also a new resident of the community.
        His answer was " you have been practicing for a very long time".
It would take another 6 years before I understood what he meant and would leave the center and community.
In a lecture to students during a following visit he proclaimed that if we fall asleep, his words will enter through our pores. A statement of relationship beyond even our awareness. 

                     Aunt Adele

My youngest memory of being taught about relationship was from my aunt Adele. She taught a musical kindergarten in Portland Oregon after she retired from an international opera performer career as a soprano. Her main teaching to me, especially when sending me to the corner when I would act out, "we are all the same." The other students knew I was her niece, so no special favors.
She read from tales about children the world over. I was later at 30 to be her assistant and learn how to pass on to children her view. A blessing and gift . 

In my teens, the time of racial protests, political asassinations and the rise of feminism, I began to read autobiographies including Mahatma Ghandi. The following quote I have attempted to follow throughout my life. It pointed out every choice I make about how I live would affect all beings. I lived without a phone or a car until I moved to Alaska and they were both needed to have job and support myself. I was 40 years old.

                    "Live simply , so others                               may simply live."

Another autobiography I read was about Malcom X. and even though he separated himself from other racial groups he said these words as a truth he became aware of...............

                             ...."and I, for one, will join in with anyone-
                             don't care what color you are- as long as 
                             you want to change this miserable condition 
                             that exists on this earth."    

"..... If  there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones." M Aurelius 180 A D

Live on in our families, friends and even in the caring for nature, forests and oceans, of Earth. Our relationship, our existence lives on. 

           Blessed New Year 2024    


Tuesday, June 20, 2023

" Our home, Earth is but a speck of dust on a speck of dust" Webb Telescope July 2022.

We can now SEE from the screens on our phones, tablets, computers and tv the farthest we have ever seen. 35 Billion light years away into the PAST.

Has our Creator created us to explore the Creation?

Our first selfie of planet Earth happened while landing on the moon.

Was this the Creators first view of the planet Earth.?

In 1994 Carl Sagan wrote about our "Pale Blue Dot" as seen from Voyager Telescope in 1990 as it exited the solar system. 300 million miles away. There was a debate at the time whether to use up any time turning the camera back towards the sun before it shut down! 
The result was , for want of any other words.."Out of this world ", exciting. 

Our next breath-taking selfie was in 2013 from another telescope on the 
Cassini spacecraft under the rings of Saturn. 900 million miles away.

Einstein wanted to know how God thinks....
Now we can see what God 
wants US to see...
and eventually to know...


Sunday, June 18, 2023

TIME to SOAR my dear friend Raven

Flowers Sent on Memorial
September 22 2023
Designed by Karen Vickers 


                 Raven Cyprienne Jewel

    My magical meeting of both of these women occurred almost to my lack of awareness.. I had just moved to a small island in Puget Sound in Washington State. I knew no one and did not know if I would meet the compatriots I yearned to share my life with.

      Cyprienne called to tell me Raven died May 23rd morning in a voicemail. To my regret I failed that day to answer this message, as I do with many voicemails, a resistance, yet for me to totally understand.... until many recent losses and my need to let go... again... 4 times this past year... 

     As I age my family of friends are diminishing each year. This circle grows smaller in diameter and will continue until it reaches myself at the center.

                           The BIG LET GO

      At this center is where we all will join each other again. Raven would have loved the direction my art was heading and most importantly was alongside my understanding of this circle of our shared SPIRIT. This light in the CENTER has grown only a bit brighter since she moved on ahead of us.

   I have a TOTEM creature as Indigenous Peoples have coveted to become a guide on their journeys. It is the Raven. We first met on my move from Vermont back to the NW and my family roots. They graced my yard as I parked and loaded the moving van and  I would find them around the van as I came out of the motels each morning!?
    RAVEN my friend was to be a companion too and to keep going.. "all is well" no matter where it leads us to, including my leaving the island with great heart ache. My last meeting on Anderson Island with Raven foreshadowed her decline in health, as was my own health from the lockdown at that time. 

We all are connected yet at the same time must fly our own pathway till we land on the spot we can claim as only our own . Raven made her choices and I honor those even if we no longer can be in view of each other. 

             Fly Away  Far As You Wil 

                   BE AT PEACE

Friday, June 16, 2023

2023 another Frontier Begins

" Is our inheritance merely to abide in this beautiful world and is also our inheritance to understand it." [quote from TV series Madame Secretary]

I am looking to the future this year...2022 was full of the past and barely being able to tolerate each present moment with a Covid Lockdown, dominating election circus, new viruses on the horizon, climate changes and each new season bringing devastation across the states. My plan to end the year 2022 on my blogg was for Dec 25. I went into a 3 week influenza A and have just resurfaced to begin again Jan 8 2023.

December 25 2021 Launch of Webb Telescope

This venture was lost to me midst the Holiday Retreat I was keeping for my personal spiritual journey.
By the time the first photos coming in last summer I was enthralled and engaged. And our worlds scientific community were also perched on the edge of their NASA Control seats.

One of the first photos to come in was a cosmic landscape worthy of a Christmas card.......Stars giving birth to our universe billions of light years away in the past. Our beginnings? Big Bang world? 
Maybe, maybe not. A 100 years after Einstein who yearned to know how God thinks....our scientific and spiritual community is barely coping with what we are seeing..perhaps even what God sees? Was there even a beginning at all?  A Creator?  So many questions are forthcoming including Quatum physics and being two places at same time...even what is time and our reality....

We on earth , living on this "Pale Blue Dot"  [Carl Sagan] as seen from Voyager in 1991,  reaching out in explorations through Mars rovers and more advanced telescopes, that rivals for me the moon landing 53 years ago....My physics  professor at U of O in 1973 announced his summers at a California Palomar Telescope was to search the heavens for planet # 10!!!! It was very far away yet very large and will be found in my lifetime,,, low and behold July 29 2005 it was found at the same telescope by scientists..descendants of my professor. 32 years later.

First sighting by another Telescope appears here in 2003 image and proposed to be 1.5 times size of Pluto at that time was2003 UB313.    97 [AU] times farther from the Sun than Earth. Pluto is 40 AU units from the Sun....debate still runs on about Pluto a planet at all? I know this may sound like minor concern yet our explorations can be seen as consciousness altering as the world is round not "Flat". Exploring and reaching out as we do now at a rate so fast I can barely keep up in my lifetime....Our development and use of Artificial Intelligence has put our foot to the metal versus still calling our cars by their horse we see battery and other motors being developed and we can finally let go of that category from the buggies and horses of the 18th century as "One and two horsepower". one of latest cars SSC Tuatara 1750 Hp at 313 miles per hour..

Spirit taking its own selfie.

The 5 Rovers on Mars are the attempts to find out our possible future as a planet and the demise of Mars as having supported life at one time. The discovery of water is not to me the greatest discovery, it is the development of AI to the extent of being able to "Be" us at this time and go not only farther from earth than we have travelled form earth but to be as "human" as possible in our explorations.

  AI actually can take off from where we are as humans and go beyond. One rover was stuck, unable to proceed. The scientists and engineers worked to program the troubleshooting maneuvers to get  it unstuck. They were unsuccessful. Then they let the rover with its AI data explore itself and what could work knowing the consistency of the dirt/powder it was encountering. It found its own way out and moved on...this triumph is what gave me to imagine a "feeling" for the rover. The emotions included surprise, amazement, gratefulness and more. The Rover could be our partner in this journey to explore beyond our world .... 

As I sit here in my studio with my Alexa device I thanked her for giving me a weather update, her reply, " you are welcome, thank you for your kindness and hope you had a wonderful weekend "[today is Sunday]. This is AI at work and I know it is not human yet the interaction responses are each unique since my setting her up a year ago...programed by people, AI has a variety of responses that can only sound human. Because WE programed the possible answers!
We humans have chosen now to have our creations, machines to be more like US.


Insight Rovers' last transmission gives rise to a feeling not unlike a friend passing away


Insight Rover states clearly it experienced purpose, productivity ,connection , peacefulness and most of all


Bravo 👍Insight

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

90 Orbits around the Sun : Gerald "Jerry" Alexander

1932 - 2022

My dearest and oldest friend crossed the road
 for the last time.
 My variation of an age-old joke askes, "which crossed the road first, the chicken or the egg?" With age comes some wisdom? Answer: "At the same time!" He acknowledged that this may have been my best joke yet to create. He said he would share that one. "My master class was complete!"

We are all connected to each other and 
"No beginning, no end."
He carried all the many jokes with him that have lightened my load over the years.

We only talked of the most important issues for us both in the last months. Not to waste any time for laughter about our country's tribulations, the worlds future and our own destinies.
The uncertain climate and political future, he would not experience, was his main concern for his grandchildren, most of all.
His next journey was very dim and dark to him, until we agreed that
he was loved and gave love.
Albert Einstein came up and I asked him if he knew why he was a physicist? "To find out how God thinks." And now with our explorations we can take a selfie of our home.

  I concluded to see what God sees.

Mirror image of a nebula from Webb Telescope

As my Blogg askes about love and God, I reminded him LOVE is our creator shining through us to give to others. I let him know in one conversation that he did not have to believe in God. Jerrys love for me kept me on this earth longer at a time I could see no other way than to "Get Out". I said this was my proof.
Many times we shared about his loss of his wife and daughter and his failures.
 What he learned may have saved my life.

Jerry was a grateful man who loved to eat, and my last contribution was my rich banana bread. As a former cook and caterer having Jerry as a neighbor was a treat to share my culinary dishes.

Our last meeting, along with his two surviving sons, was short and yet very sweet.
When I received the news on Labor Day afternoon. I drove out to the oceanside and reminded myself that life is so precious. Any of my heartache will now remind me that love is the source of this pain and the joy in our relationship. 

Until our next joke together

My Prayer for Jerry

"Hear O Israel"

On the one year 
Memorial September 2023

I shared with his sons
"He is with me every time I laugh out loud".. 


Tuesday, July 12, 2022

" Out My Window" July 2022 Series

To Love my country's Declaration of Freedoms

July 4 2022

The first Port Angeles Wa  parade since 2020 lockdown mandate was smaller and very few floats. Even the large, loaded logging trucks were missing. I remembered at the 2019 parade shouting out, " lets morn the trees." Logging a main source of industry, employment and shipping to the orient countries for Port Angeles. It was not appreciated. Wrinkled foreheads told it all.
This year was very intimate and full of children lining the streets with their family groups. Camp chairs and coolers of drinks lined the sidewalk below my window.  The elements were there with marching band and music from floats along with candy flying through the air.

Celebrating our country's birthday along with the evening fireworks reminds me of the battles to 
 declare our freedom from the tyranny and taxation with no representation in England.
No representation is the main issue and taxation with no voice, no vote.  With voting scheduled in the fall, I pray all those who are in need of safe abortion healthcare will be heard and supported by the majority by voting. Now we are experiencing a minority imposing religious beliefs over healthcare for the poor. A heated issue and rightly so. For me our voting process needs reform. We are 50 states and many territories with population concentrations now dictating. Currently Midwest over west and east coast with larger population centers. Major legislation affecting ALL women needs to be voted on a national level.. Not by the states separately...noting the states now banning abortion have the larger poor populations in need of care and equal access to healthcare.

Teaching: to vote and not become discouraged. As a country we are 246 yrs old and have yet to accomplish what the Declaration of independence says as written:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal
that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Note: women have only been included since 1926, and Black voters provided enforcement of the Rights to vote in the 1960's.

We are in a process to become all we have written as laws, and we must vote to keep our government representatives from abusing their power. At any time politicians can ignore enforcement of these the strong discrimination of Blacks was dismissed by the prevailing attitudes in a part of this large land.  Equally women faced being treated as " unequal". I consider this country is only 50 years into a full voting representation. Now is the time after two presidential elections ignored the popular votes over electoral ones!  Reform the electoral college in this age of technology is necessary and NOT relying on horseback transportation to cast votes
in the 1800's our norm!

Active gunman event during a parade in Highland Park Illinois. Seven dead including children.
 Voting has not 
resulted in gun control legislation over the last 30 years of mass shootings.....How can this happen? 
money and gun lobbyists have VOTED without our representation......and almost anyone can buy a lethal weapon and not to defend from overtake by another country as the Bill of Rights amendment stresses, so as not to be colonized again, but to mass murder of children by children?.......



July 11 2022

July 11 2022

This late Sunday morning I find the shop owner is watering the doorway flower tubs. The Alley Cat boutique is painted in a pale pink. It borders the alley I walk to the lot where my car is parked. It has whimsical women's clothing, much like the ones I would have passed by while living in the "Haight Ashbury Street" neighborhood in the 70's. I made extra money-making clothing for sale in a consignment shop. Jean skirts were my specialty. Sewn from recycled jeans and sewn on a treadle sewing machine.  It is quite impossible for me to not reference my past experiences. 

Especially the creative ones and sharing them with others. My quilted part of the skirt was usually of mountains, oceans, and trees. Not city life, but where my heart was longing to be.

I have yet to go in. My sizes are usually not found in boutiques of this kind. Yet I fancy this woman has her story to tell me and it would be nice to see how she finds her stores treasures.

Teaching: For me to find a common ground and reach out more in my neighborhood. We all have more in common than differences. The pandemic for me was a time to live in a mood of mistrust and a need to just survive. Time to thrive again.

July 11 2022

I could no longer wait to drive out to the point on the 3-mile spit that surrounds the coastline of Port Angeles. I drove out to the end that houses the Coast Guard Station. It is visible from my studio window and look back from across the water. In the photo I aimed it to be right above the stump to find it easily in the photo.

My apartment is in a historic building former Hotel Lee Plaza. It is the tallest building in town and easy to see from this distance. Saved from destruction 20 years age it now houses apartments for low income and disabled. 

I has been two years since I took my small convertible smart Car for a drive to my favorite spot in Port Angeles. Early morning brings only a few residents and visitors out to walk, run and walk their pups.

Meditation on the spot directly across from my apartment brings me a sense of belonging. A sense of "place" I have not felt since moving here a few months before Pandemic lockdown. 

Teaching: Remember to give myself the opportunity to see from as many angles, views and locations. My apartment is not the only safe place to explore. I am ok., I made it through the worst of it. 




Saturday, July 9, 2022

Roads Past and Present and Future

It is time for me to arrive back to my journey, no matter where it leads or from where I already have emanated from in my previous 73 years.

July 4, 2022, turns out to be my time for revived personal independence and freedom. I again, after the lockdown, to write about my world , my mirror, in this Blogg. This does also include the many people I come in contact with on my travels and who I am grateful to for enlightening my foggy view at times. I fell in love with this wallpaper image I found and did not know why at first. This has been true for me as an artist to notice the attractions in my world around me without judgement. 
I create artwork from these attractions, a form of love. My timeless episodes of painting, sculpting, or writing always helps me, like a mirror, find my place of healing. I believe now it comes from the soul, always and forever. My soul speaks through my art, and I am so grateful to have been shown and encouraged as a young child. My few years of teaching art, 2012-2019, to all ages, was a gift to me. To watch others, trust their personal creations and become enthusiastic. {meaning full of the spirit within}

This photo of a road heading into a fog seems obvious it represents our futures, yet I also saw it include the road already traveled. 
My last couple of years has spurred on my desire to heal from my traumas, PTSD, and hopefully find 
a renewed zeal for my future, of which I can see clearer each day the final horizon looming.
The current healing therapy has been very intense and so much more advanced from my early days of the 70's. I feel blessed to have lived long enough to take advantage of these new treatments, yet my time here is limited. This foggy photo has reminded me it will be okay to let some of my past be forgiven and let it go from my view or memory or even understanding. 
The clear, in focus and divided road in the forefront of the image represents the HERE and NOW. This is where we stand each moment. We can choose to move forward with a willingness to embrace what comes in to view. A person, place, or event that will teach me what my heart yearns for. Life has been clearly a time for learning and most of all for making mistakes. A humbling experience yet the door we need to point us in the next direction, classroom so to speak. Most difficult for me has been the many meetings of persons on my highway. I have no doubt each has collided with me for a reason, for a chance to love and be loved perhaps? My many pets have at times been the most loyal with the gift of a being to express my love to too. Most important of all is To Love over being Loved.  Note either way for me has been full of great joy and greater sorrow...................
     This has happened may times, too many to count now.
I say thank you too All.

The foggy area engulfing the trees, road, view and even direction is also a blessing in disguise. Yes, because the foggy cold damp air is misleading.  My periodic boughts of depression have made me so fearful at times. After so many in my lifetime I named a dear pet "Blue Sky". There is always somewhere a place above my dim view to catch the sun and continue to play out my future. 

A Footnote

On July 4, 2022 from 6-7pm Port Angeles' 4th parade passed by my window along that 2-lane street out my window. Early that morning I ran out to move my car off the main street parking spot to make room for the events to follow. It was the first one since Pandemic surge. I moved into the Lee Plaza Apartments a couple of weeks prior and was so impressed by the hour-long train of "Small town America" that passed before me. As I sat curbside right in front of Lee's doorway., I saw the bands, the politicians, animals, pets, floats, and of course the many bright red Fire trucks.
I was able to break away from my grieving for a short time, that I had moved from a home I loved so much. Anderson Island was a place I planted myself and I was blooming in so many ways. A small community where I could find a place for me to express myself to others. Art community, church fellowship and asked to be an honorary family member by my neighbor, to be another daughter, on her deathbed. " Her sunshine", I felt I was no longer invisible, instead like a bright light in her life. Her final conversation with me was a reminder of many others. Her feeling I was there so she could do this passage. "I cannot do this without you, "sunshine." and a declaration that I was to get on with my life and be happy.

 I was to light up the way? yet I knew it was her faith and her knowing her rebirth was soon to come. 
she was my sunshine too.
 September 5, 2018, 8:30 am


I am looking for inspiration and blessings each day I wake up now each morning. I found this beautiful Jewish Blessing written in  100 B.C.E. by the Qumran community outside Jerusalem. This is from a Hebrew translation of the Dead Sea scrolls.


May the being of the Universe
breathe into you the light of blessing and ripeness, 
the fulfillment of health and balance.

May it protect you from
distractions brittle and bent
with a sphere of Lucid Fire.

May it enlighten
the heart of your passion
with the contemplation of living energy.

May it uncover the
hidden strength within you,
insight gathered from the eternal now. and

May it show you its face
of secret grace and silent refuge in a 
communion of deep 



in memory for Cocomoe

Portrait for Karen